Arab League

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Arab League,

popular name for the

League of Arab States,

formed in 1945 in an attempt to give political expression to the Arab nations. The original charter members were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan (then known as Transjordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. A representative of Palestinian Arabs, although he did not sign the charter because he represented no recognized government, was given full status and a vote in the Arab League. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), now the Palestinian Authority, was granted full membership in 1976. Other current members include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. In 2011 Syria was suspended due to its government's violent suspression of the opposition uprising.

The league is organized into a council, special committees, and a permanent secretariat; the secretariat has its headquarters in Cairo. The constitution of the league provides for coordination among the signatory nations on education, finance, law, trade, and foreign policy, and it forbids the use of force to settle disputes among members. A joint defense treaty was signed in 1950. In 2005 an Arab Parliament was established; its members are drawn from each member nation's parliament. The issues the parliament may discuss, however, are restricted to the social, economic, and cultural spheres.

Among the most important activities of the Arab League have been its attempts to coordinate Arab economic life; efforts toward this aim include the Arab Telecommunications Union (1953), the Arab Postal Union (1954), and the Arab Development Bank (1959, later known as the Arab Financial Organization). The Arab Common Market was established in 1965 and is open to all Arab League members. The common market agreement provides for the eventual abolition of customs duties on natural resources and agricultural products, free movement of capital and labor among member countries, and coordination of economic development.

In 1945, the league supported Syria and Lebanon in their disputes with France and also demanded an independent Libya; in 1961, it supported Tunisia in a conflict with France. The league early announced opposition to the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine and demanded that Palestine as a whole be made independent, with the majority of its population Arab. When the state of IsraelIsrael
, officially State of Israel, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,277,000, including Israelis in occupied Arab territories), 7,992 sq mi (20,700 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea.
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 was created in 1948, the league countries jointly attacked it, but Israel resisted successfully. The league continued to maintain a boycott of Israel and of companies trading with Israel. The summit conferences of 1964–65 established a joint Arab military command, which proved unsuccessful in implementing a united strategy for the liberation of Palestine. Egypt's membership was suspended from 1979 to 1989 because of its treaty with Israel, and the league's headquarters were moved to Tunis. In 1988 the league endorsed the PLO's plan for a negotiated settlement with Israel, and in 1991 Cairo once again became its headquarters. In 2002 the league for the first time offered Israel normal relations with Arab countries if it met certain conditions, but many of those conditions were not acceptable to Israel.

For many years, closer political unity among members was hampered by a division between pro-Western member countries and neutralist or pro-Soviet ones; more recently the division has been between militant Islamic fundamentalists and Arab moderates. The league ultimately supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
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 (1980–88) but was divided over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 (see Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.


First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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). In 1993 the league issued a statement condemning all forms of terrorism. In 2015, the Arab states agreed to establish a voluntary joint military force, to counter Islamic extremists and Iranian influence.

Arab League


(League of Arab States; Jamiat al-duwal al-arabiya), a regional organization of independent Arab states, founded Mar. 22, 1945, at a Cairo conference of representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan (from 1946, Jordan), Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (from 1962 the Yemen Arab Republic). It was later joined by Libya (1953), Sudan (1956), Tunisia (1958), Morocco (1958), Kuwait (1961), Algeria (1962), the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (1967), Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (1971), and the Somali Democratic Republic (1974). Since 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization has participated in the work of the league.

The Arab League’s covenant calls for “strengthening the ties between the participant states and coordinating their political program in such a way as to effect real collaboration between them, to preserve their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in general the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.” The covenant calls for cooperation between the Arab states in economics, culture, and other fields.

As the national liberation movement in the Arab countries gained strength, particularly after the July Revolution of 1952 in Egypt, the Arab League played an important role in coordinating the actions of its members in support of the struggle of individual Arab countries for freedom and national independence. The league has called for and continues to call for the fullest possible unification of the Arab countries against imperialist plans aimed at establishing neocolonial regimes in the Middle East and at drawing the Arab countries into the imperialist sphere of influence. The league has consistently supported its members’ demands for the liquidation of foreign bases on their territory.

The league has strongly condemned the Israeli aggression that began in June 1967 against the Arab countries as well as the support shown to Israel by international imperialism and Zionism. The league has advanced a series of proposals aimed at working out a unified political and economic strategy for the Arab countries to liquidate the consequences of Israeli aggression. The Khartoum conference of heads of Arab states in August 1967 decided on ways to struggle for the liberation of Israeli-occupied lands and to give aid, including financial, to countries that are victims of aggression. Sessions held by the league’s Joint Defense Council in November 1971, November 1972, and January 1973 were instrumental in unifying the Arab states’ military, political, and economic efforts in the struggle against Israeli aggression. When military actions were renewed in the Middle East in October 1973, the league helped coordinate the actions of the Arab countries in exerting pressure on Israel and its supporters; one of the leading tactics was the limitation on the production and supply of Arab oil for the international market.

The league’s executive organ is the council, composed either of the heads or the prime ministers of the Arab states or of representatives designated by them. The council also has the Joint Defense Council, a political committee, an economic council, the Unitary Arab Command, and other bodies. Between council sessions (held twice yearly), the league’s activities are supervised by a general secretary, who is elected to a five-year term. The decisions of the league council and of organizations tied to the league (including the Common Market of Arab States, since 1964, and the Arab Financial Institution for Economic Development, since 1959) are binding only for those member states that voted for them. The league’s headquarters are in Cairo.

References in periodicals archive ?
The sanctions include a ban on commercial flights between Syria and Arab League member states.
The GCC and Arab League member states that dispatched their troops to shore up the monarchy in Bahrain are the very same states that endorsed and offered to participate in a military campaign against the Jamahiriya in Libya.
The project is a major breakthrough in sustainable transport infrastructure because it integrates the 21 Arab League member states.
The session, placed under the theme: "methods and mechanisms for taking care of young delinquents," runs till November 25, with the participation of representatives of Arab League member States and experts in the areas of psychology, education, social science and medicine from several Arab countries (Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Djibouti and United Arab Emirates.
Frustrated by stalling European leaders, Turkey has been steadily reversing years of animosity with its Arab neighbours, with trade between Turkey and the Arab League member states doubling over the past five years to just under $30bn a year.
Lebanon, which has a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, represents the Arab bloc at the council but it is unclear whether its position mirrors the position of the 22 Arab League member states.
According to the UN Arab Human Development Reports, about 38% of the population of Arab League member states are minors.
She should invite Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa to Occupied Jerusalem to discuss the Arab Peace Plan, first launched in March 2002 and still on the table - which offers Israel peace and normal relations with all 22 Arab League member states in exchange for its withdrawal to its 1967 borders.
We have informed our brothers in different Arab countries that reasonable and minimum steps which can be taken by the Arab League member states are to lift the sanctions unilaterally," Mr Sahaf said.
The committee's members shared visons on supporting and developing youth movement inside the Arab league member states in order to protect youth from deviance and extremism, he added.
Engineer Abdullatif Al-Othman also indicated that this number of countries represents the minimum for the entry of the revised agreement into force, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries that has already approved and ratified the amended agreement, and it invites the rest of Arab League Member States to accelerate the ratification of the agreement, which will, God willing, contribute to the promotion of the investment environment in the Arab countries, with a positive impact on attracting more investment on the Member States and organizing the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

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